Mars rover engineer wows kids on Long Island

- NASA's Kobie Boykins is trying to take the mystery out of Mars.

"What can we do?" Boykins, a mechanical engineer, said. "And what's out there that we could push forward to do this type of exploration?"

Boykins works in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech in Pasadena, California. He is on the front lines of Mars exploration. He came to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island, on Tuesday to talk to children about our nearest neighbor.

"For the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, I led the team that designed and built the solar arrays," he said. "Then I went onto the Assembly Test and Launch Operations team, what we call ATLO, where we actually build the vehicles and deliver them to Kennedy Space Center for launch."

Boykins is also involved with NASA's Curiosity rover that collected evidence showing conditions on Mars, including water, once could've supported life. So why does he study Mars?

"For me, it's really: Did planetary evolution caused Mars to die?" he said. "And can that happen on Earth?"

Another part of his mission is sharing his passion with students many of whom are inspired by his career. One student told us that she can't believe she met someone who builds things that go to Mars. 

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